Wallace Run in Centre County required an investment in its restoration. The stream begins in the Allegheny Front in State Game Land 103 and flows northwest for eight miles, gathering water from small tributaries. There, where the watershed is mostly forested, Wallace Run is a pristine trout stream. But as it turns to flow along Route 144, its character has been changed by human influence. Businesses, houses, a baseball field, and some agriculture replace its natural vegetated buffer. Past dredging has widened the stream.
A 2008 stream assessment determined that the loss of riparian buffer in this section had caused severe bank erosion. The assessment also found that Wallace Run no longer qualifies as a Class A fishery: long, straight sections of the stream are too wide and lack pools, which means they cannot provide habitat for larger-sized trout.
Environmental Stewardship Fund investments helped make the restoration of a 1,000 foot stretch of the stream possible. This section of the stream had been actively meandering, degrading the natural buffer and limiting its potential as a fishery. It was also eroding ever closer to a natural gas transmission line downstream and encroaching into a mowed field. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Partners Program, Centre County Conservation District, Bald Eagle Watershed Association, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Columbia Gas, and Wildlife for Everyone coordinated their efforts to restore the stream.
The restoration involved relocating the channel to a more stable configuration, building the new channel to the proper dimensions for optimal sediment transport, installing natural stream channel design structures (such as log vanes and rock straight vanes) to protect and stabilize the banks, and planting a riparian buffer to further protect the banks and provide habitat for migratory birds.
This project had multiple benefits: stabilizing the banks, reducing dangerous erosion, significantly reducing sediment input, and improving the aquatic habitat by providing a more natural and healthy stream channel. The reduction of fine sediment in the stream makes it more conducive to fish reproduction, while the installation of rock and log vanes provide habitat for numerous aquatic species.